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February 25, 2011

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Jayne Dough

It's an interesting point of view the commenter shared, and an interesting connection to Traditions.

It seems to me that if this blog were THE OFFICIAL VOICE & OPINION OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS it wouldn't be some anonymous guy's blog, it would be the headline article on aa.org.

Take, for instance, the actor who "behaved badly" on radio today. Amongst his comments were unflattering comments about AA. Our Traditions are reflected in aa.org's SILENCE on the matter. AA as an official entity NEVER DEFENDS ITSELF. Our results speak for themselves: the good, the bad, the ugly. No spokespersons necessary, no drama triangle moves engaged.

I'd like to pass a metaphorical handful of compassion to you, MSP, for this experience which is, in effect, hate mail. Paradoxically, it's probably a sign of (what the world would call "success") to be well known enough to merit hate mail.

Dave

I absolutely love the way alcoholics (recovery or not) have a desire to create controversy and drama wherever we can find the opportunity. I include myself in this endeavor.

Keep it up. Your message is clear. And it's YOUR message, not AA's.

daisymay

It was your blog and others, and other online sites that got me into recovery. I don't think I would have made it to a meeting without you and others online.

You, and others help keep me sober. Especially when I can't get to meetings frequently. It is truly like having a real sponsor.

I think it is a valid 12th step activity.

Regarding preservation of anonymity: If I put my mind to it I might be able to work out which time zone you are in, and therefore roughly which area of the USA. I honestly can't think of any way I could even hazard a guess at your identity or location other than that.

You are always very careful about this. It is very difficult. I read other blogs where, after a while, I feel I could identify the writer in real life if I wanted to.

I do hope you don't take the site down. I often refer to a previous post.

john

MSP, Please don't stop posting your view of our world. We need you and thank you for your work.

Lexie

However well-intentioned the writer of that comment may have been, I strongly disagree with it. I felt like I struck GOLD when I discovered this blog, and it is one of the few I follow avidly. Heck, one of the down sides to weekends for me is no Mr. S-P those days.

I often share links with friends inside and outside the Fellowship. You do, indeed, have a gift and perform true service in employing it here.

I know people who had a knee-jerk aversion to anything AA based on what they've heard, not what they've experienced, who were ready to give it a try after surfing around your blog. No, you don't speak for AA, but your recovery speaks volumes.

I think you do an admirable job of preserving your own anonymity and that of others you write about in these pages. You put a human face on AA and show that it is a real solution for real people in real situations. You aren't afraid to display your own foibles in the interest of making a point.

Keep up the good work. PLEASE.

Jeri  Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ


First off, please don’t take what this person says personally. Everyone has the freedom either to read or not to. If someone should find something
offensive…hello…don’t read it….end of story….
Seems to me someone decided to judge. AA says to try looking in the mirror and judging yourself first. They might learn something!! Putting Down the Magnifying Glass and picking up the Mirror helps. Just sayin’.

Plus also:

Foreword to fourth edition ...
[While our literature has preserved the integrity of the A.A. message, sweeping changes in society as a whole are reflected in new customs and practices within the Fellowship. Taking advantage of technological advances, for example, A.A. members with computers can participate in meetings online, sharing with fellow alcoholics across the country or around the world. In any meeting, anywhere, A.A.’s share experience, strength, and hope with each other, in order to stay sober and help other alcoholics. Modem-to-modem or face-to-face, A.A.’s speak the language of the heart in all its power and simplicity.]

Lori

I found your blog when I searched online for the phrase, "the road gets narrower." I asked several members in my home group their interpretation of this phrase and still couldn't quite wrap my arms around it. Your site was listed in my search. Once I was on the site, I clicked through some of your posts and got a lot out of reading your perspective on things AA. I have been an avid reader since then.

I look forward to reading your posts and others' comments each weekday. In no way have I felt you were speaking for all of AA, as I feel you have successfully couched your writing with "... my experience is...". In my opinion, that is what we all do when we speak in a meeting. And this is a large piece of what keeps me sober one day at a time.

I greatly appreciate your service.

Jason

First off let me say that I read your blog everyday right after I read my meditations, and more often than not I always read something that makes me smile and helps to set my mood before I leave for work. I realize that you are only trying to help others with your expierience much like my sponser does with me and much like I do with my sponsees. However it has been my experience in a.a. that there will always be one or two people who think they are the a.a. police and try to tell all the others how they should act. I have also learned that roughly 10% of all the people do 90% of all the work. Well I like to believe that you are one of those 10%! While you have others like the person who posted the comment who have nothing better to do than sit around and critisize others. So in my opinion if people like that would get more involved in helping others and less critizing others then maybe this wonderful program could reach more people. I dont know it just kinda bothers me that someone always tries to knock others for trying to help.

Lin Baba

I fail to see where any Tradition was violated in any way shape or form in thought word or deed

You personify the idea of "attraction not promotion" actually in the tradition in question, the tradition says we identify ourselves by our first name only, and you don't even do that, the 12th tradition states that anonymity is the spiritual foundation of ALL our traditions, so if anonymity is the spiritual foundation of a spiritual program it means it's pretty important, the way that was explained to me was do the work (help others) but don't look for the credit, and you exemplify that perfectly

In Short, Mr Sponsorpants, I believe the technical term is "You rock Mr Sponsorpants, keep doing what you are doing", perhaps tomorrow you can explain to us (and your anonymous 'hater' where to put your name in the "I'm Resentful at" column

Fellowship Toddler

Hi, there, as with everyone earlier please keep up the good work. You are not billing yourself as the defnitive voice of AA and I agree in the 21st century the way people consume things is very different as well as the way you go about protecting annonimity of the peoples stories that you allude to. I also like the fact that you have published both the original comment and your reply, which obviously made you think about the points in a calm manner, rather than dismiss them out of hand. That for me is the beauty of the fellowship that we are tolerant and accomodating. The person who had the fears re annonimity made me take notice of how i conduct myself outside the meeting. Without sounding sycophantic i also liked your annalogy re service. about singing the loudest or singing to be part of the song. Many a time i have made the mistake as i grow in AA of trying to sing the loudest.

Smiley

To me, this blog is like having coffee after a meeting with an "Elder Statesman" ( by my own scale of defining Elder: 15 yrs or more sober and happy about it ). I get answers to questions I didn't want to ask in front of others (gasp!), and sometimes to questions I didn't realize I had.
I attended a workshop @ our last State (IL) convention that dealt with Traditions & Social Networking. I encourage all to do so! It was enlightening and The Traditions didn't have to be rewritten for the Internet.
Thanks for making my mornings. Especially the days I spit coffee on my screen from laughing outloud! YOU.ROCK.

Syd

I had a similar comment. I keep anonymity as tight as possible. And I state that I do not represent Al Anon. The commented has a bone to pick. It is an opinion which each of us is entitled to. You do a great service here for those of us dealing with alcoholism. Keep doing what you are doing,please.

Dan

Anonymity is preserved online the same way it is in meetings - no names, no identifying details. I don't see a problem. Some of us in recovery can be a little rules-obsessed some times.

David S

Like Bill W. said when someone said something he disagreed with.
"That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it."
This guy has quite a job ahead of him if he plans on shutting down opinions and views on the net. KEYWORD: Google...You have a lot of resentful letters to write.

bob

take what you want and....

TAAAF

I recommend you to friends in Al-Anon; invariably, I'll hear back from those folks about how helpful, thought-provoking and insightful your posts are, and how much they enjoy you.
When I tell someone about your blog, I do so, knowing that I'm giving them a 12-Step treat.
One post of yours, about which I wrote to you, was the best, (the only, truly) explanation for my childhood pain, and why I had to go through it, that I've heard in 50 years of living.
I'm grateful for your willingness to share yourself with us, warts and all. Your courage in being honest about your own thinking processes, makes me feel more willing to work towards the same honesty myself.
You can make me burst out laughing, over something which I then go on to think about seriously - we love you, Mr SP!

Joy~

I am a visitor here. I am not an alcoholic and I do not attend meetings. I do have alcoholics in my life and sometimes the communication isn't as clear for me as I would like. When I discovered this blog, this personal journey, your particular style made things easier for me to understand. I can relate to the way you speak online.

In all honesty, I have to go to my resident in house alcoholic and ask for clarification on specifics - traditions, steps, things spoken in AA language etc.

A joyful bonus I never anticipated is that by me reading and understanding more *here* and taking my questions to him - we now are talking more than we ever have about things related to his personal sobriety (21 years in March - but I know, have always known, that on any given day he is only sober for that day. I recognize the accomplishment of adding up all those days but I also recognize that each day is its own day alone) One of the pitfalls of long-term sobriety that he has shared with me is that people - other people, *normal* people in his words - take it for granted that it is something he DID not something he DOES every day.

This particular blog has enabled me to better understand things he says or talks about - your words Mr SP I can relate to and that relating has opened other doors. I am grateful for that.

Another person included the forward to the 4th ed. When I asked my resident in house alcoholic about that interpretation he suggested that some people might say that it applies only to a specific online meeting.

Now in my interpretation from all I know and have learned, and like you I am confident someone will correct me if I am wrong, my understanding is that it only takes two people for a meeting to occur under any circumstances. If you write and I read then the two of us are having a meeting. An open meeting, but a meeting nonetheless. It only takes two, and I am happy I have this opportunity to attend. Thank you
.

bonzo

mr sponsorpants, your blog is brilliant. the person who has a problem with it should just go and surf somewhere else.

Claire

My goodness, can we get our panties in a wad or what? I agree, this is service work. A basic lesson in an English class is that if you are writing it, the fact that it is your opinion is clear without needing to write "in my opinion".

I actually came here looking to quote you, always credited of course, about the difference between opinions and judgements from a few days ago.

It would have been an act of ego on Bill W.'s part to assume he knew all of the various media outlets that would someday come about and attempt to opine on whether one (like, oh, a book) is more valid than another.

Pam

I'm hoping that no one reading your blog today will think that the little slogan he wrote at the end "what you hear here...etc" is a part of the AA program. He probably says "meeting makers make it" too.

Moira

First of all, I think this is a wonderful blog, it _is_ a public service, and it has helped me not once but dozens of times -- not "just" with relation to my drinking but to other compulsive behaviours too. I have been sober since April 2002 and read a lot about sobriety and your posts are some of the freshest, most inspiring, and funniest around. (PLEASE don't take the site down, it would be terrible.)

I honestly don't see how the person who criticized you so sharply could really think this violates anonymity in any way. They need to sit down and take their _own_ inventory, since obviously something hit a nerve, but I don't think it actually has much of anything to do with you.

Something else to consider -- "anonymity" meant something else in the Good Old Days. I read in a book on early AA that people often passed around typed or mimeographed sheets with full names, addresses, and phone numbers. Contact _between_ alcoholics was seen as the key thing, not never revealing your identity to anyone. I'm just dropping that into the conversation to point out that while the Traditions have stayed the same, often ways of interpreting them have changed. The only _directive_ I personally see is 'we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.' (Um, crosstalking here! Hah.)

But anyway, the real and important things are -- you do a wonderful job, you have helped me, you have helped dozens if not probably hundreds of other people, and I think your blog is a shining example of twelve stepping in the new, virtual world. Your considering so seriously and carefully whether you were really doing your best to help speaks for itself.

Moira

(Sheesh, that person didn't even get it right. I've always heard it -- "Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, leave it here." Not that I would pick nits in defense of our dear MRSP or anything, oh no.)

Julie. B

Mr. SP;
I can only speak for myself, but your blog has indeed been a service (and continues to be) to this alcoholic.
I read everyday. Everyday I take something useful away from this blog...something that helps me better undersatnd and apply the principles of the program in all my affairs. It has helped me when my sponsor was unavailable due to chemotherapy, it has helped me when I am troubled with my own sponsees, it has helped me when I want to strangle people I work with. It has reminded me I am not alone when I am awake at 4am.
You have used your time and provided love and guidance. As a direct result of that, I am pretty sure that when I go out into the world, I am more in line to performing God's work instead of my own.
Thanks Mr.Sp. I feel as if we are friends and I treasure the hope and inspiration your words have given me.

Laurette

Hello MSP,
After reading through all of the responses posted as of this morning (and I agree - you ROCK) I went back and read the poster's comment that started it all. I was struck by the overall tone of this “opinion” about you and your blog, which was typified by the last 2 words - sacred fellowship. I belong to a fellowship of men and women - human, flawed, resilient and amazing - but certainly not sacred. The spirituality of this program and my personal connection to my HP is defined in the Third Step - it is as I understand Him, not what someone else tells me. It is those who believe in and espouse this "sacred fellowship" stuff that has earned AA the totally unwarranted label of “cult”. What you do, MSP, is offer to the wide world what you alone have to offer. Fellow AA’s like me read you for your wisdom, your humor and your courage. Non AA’s can read you and see that we are not brainwashing people, just offering a simple program of guidelines to living a sober, happy life. So to quote your post of Feb. 16th “…an opinion is when I decide that what you're doing is not right for me (and that's fine); a judgment is when I decide what you're doing is not right for you.” We all know what opinions are like – everyone has one and we all think that yours stinks – but opinions thrive in a healthy fellowship. IN MY OPINION – judgments thrive in a “sacred fellowship” and can only hurt us in the end. After all, “our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety", not maintain a “sacred fellowship” that is inflexible, condemning and exclusionary. Keep on blogging!

Jessie R.

A wonderful woman quoted this as she was finishing out her time here on earth before going full time (as her son calls it) 50 years in Alanon, a husband 35 year.

She said, if you can say thank you for each opportunity given to see the love and grace of God in those around you and in your own walk because they were there, it's enough.

So,

Thank you!

Jack A

A wrench for every nut - Notes from the wrench factory.
I don’t know how I or anyone survives to find AA. I don’t know how I survived the crazy stuff I find in the rooms offered to replace alcohol. Little by slow. I had to learn to mistrust fast. Alcohol is fast. Zero to god in 12 ounces. I don’t think I can speed up my recovery. I know how to slow it down (glug glug.) It is a good day not to drink and die. Others were seemingly much crazier outside cases and wreaked more obviously. I am surprised now by one again a friend ensnared. I met him at death’s door and in AA he zip zapped recovered again bringing a lovely awareness and romantic appreciation of all big and small life to me. Then, while visiting new company in a new place a new idea – All exciting and promising regaining ground winning back receiving the appreciation of strangers his talents nourished the innocent consideration of alcohol, a drink. Moment. Nothing new to us. To him there is confusion as he finds this hidden power greater than himself depositing him daily dealing its blows. Get up and go to meeting- maybe today it will go. Mr. SP might have been able to bring me back and is carrying plenty now. Pretty sure this is the case. Good luck MRSP!!! 8-) We are enjoying this, too!

“Sit, be still, and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at
the edge of the roof.” RUMI

Jenne' R. Andrews

AA has a big problem in trying to suppress people's individuality, with empowering them to look within for strength, and capitalizing on people's vulnerabilities. I was in for sixteen years and so very glad I'm out. Contrary to the viewpoint on leaving the program, I'm sober, stable, and happy. j

Curt W

Is says somewhere that alcohol(or alcoholism in my opinion) is "cunning baffling powerful..." There is a carnival game called "Smack a Mole" that, for me, is an apt definition of how the alcoholic part of my brain works. I identify a behavior that is causing unmanageability in my life, and I address it via the program(read Hit it With A 12 step Hammer) and invariably another behavior pops up that helps divert me from the present. A part of my brain is trying very actively to kill me, and telling me that I am OK now, and that AA is the problem is one of the most frequent ways it does it. My partner had 25 years of sobriety, drank(expressed his individuality) and is now trying really hard to recapture what he lost. He too thought that AA quit fitting him. The gift for me is that I have learned what a great program Al Anon is in the last 4 years that he has been trying to get back to the program.
I heard an old timer say very early on in my sobriety "Don't let the things that AA gives you take you away from AA" and have tried to remember that saying as my life fills up. I developed the ability to be an individual when I got sober, so my opinion is definately the opposite of J, for what its worth. Was J reading the posts here to gather ammunition for the argument? Strange that someone who is so glad they are out is reading a bunch of blog comments on a sober site. Cunning, Baffling, Powerful...
As far as this site and the 12 Tradition goes, I see zero conflict, which therefore means that there isn't any...LOL

Rob H

I have an alcoholic wife. I do attend Al-Anon, but coming to your blog has been refreshing to read your anectodal comments on alcoholism. This is one ofthefirstweb pages I read that helped me fully understand what we were up against. Please continue doing this, it does assist everyone involved to clean up their side of the street.

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